How can you make a difference this summer?
Make your summer more meaningful by doing some good. Source: Shutterstock

It’s summertime, and the weather is fine. Do you have plans this summer? Some international students choose to take summer classes, while others choose to travel, head back home, or pursue an internship.

No matter what you’ve got planned, the summer is a great opportunity to do some good, as you’ll have plenty of free time to get out into the world!

Making a difference is subjective. For some it can mean doing something good for the environment, while for others it means volunteering at an animal shelter.

If you want to make your summer a bit more meaningful, here are some awesome suggestions:

Go green

Has the current hot topic of climate change got you wanting to do your part for Mother Nature? Many of us strive to live more sustainably, but it’s not always easy.

Developing good habits is the first step towards being eco-friendly and going green. For starters, make sure you’re recycling properly.

Put everything you can recycle (paper, glass, plastic) into a separate waste container. For bigger items, look up recycling centres near you where you can drop them off.

When you eat out or order take-out, make a conscious effort to refuse unnecessary plastic cutlery and bags. Bring your own refillable containers for food and water whenever and wherever you can, and refuse plastic straws – bring your own stainless steel ones if you want.

To reduce your carbon footprint, you can take the bus, carpool, walk or cycle wherever possible. Since it’s the summer, it’s much easier to get around by foot, and it’s good exercise, too!

These are just a few small ways you can become more eco-friendly. Maybe you’ll inspire your housemates and friends to do the same!


Can international students volunteer? Of course! Choose a cause that’s close to your heart or one you’re particularly passionate about so you’ll be more motivated to volunteer.

Whether it’s tutoring underprivileged kids, signing up for a Big Brother programme, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or participating in a charity drive, volunteering is a great way to pass the time and do some good when you’re studying abroad.

The experience will also look great on your CV, and it’s a great opportunity to meet new friends with like-minded interests.


Summer’s the perfect time to clear out your room so you can start fresh when the fall semester arrives. Channel Marie Kondo and start sorting through your old clothes, shoes, books, accessories and even food that’s been sitting in your pantry for a long time.

Once you’ve determined what sparks joy and what you want to get rid of, it’s time to see what you can donate.

Clothes, shoes and books can go to the Salvation Army or other similar donation centres, while food items can go to homeless shelters or churches.

You may not think your stuff is worth much, but to others, it can make all the difference. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Be kind

Perhaps the simplest way to make a difference is to be kind. And guess what? It costs nothing. Keep your eyes out for ways you can make someone’s day, or at least make their life a little easier.

Some restaurants and cafés have ‘pay it forward’ options – where you can buy a hot meal or drink in advance – so someone who is in need or down on their luck can have access to food at no cost if they need it.

You don’t need to spend money to help others. Maybe you’ve got a friend who needs help moving house, a ride to the airport, or needs to crash on your couch for a few days.

Helping your friends, neighbours or peers out in small ways may not seem like a big deal, but to them, it could make all the difference. Doing good for others is rewarding in itself and helps you become a better person!

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